Health / AIDS

Phoenix, a local non-government organisation that focuses on HIV issues and community development, will celebrate its 10th anniversary today.

On average, a person living in Myanmar (also known as Burma) will live two decades less than someone in the U.S. For Michael Lwin, son of two doctors who came to the United States from Myanmar in the 1970s, this isn’t just a statistic. It’s a deeply unfair consequence of a geographic lottery. A lottery that favors him over his cousin Yar Zar Minn Htoo, a doctor and computer scientist, who has suffered from diseases endemic to the developing world. In 2012, the two teamed up to start Koe Koe Tech, a healthcare systems provider for health institutions and the people of Myanmar. In a nation of 4 doctors per 10,000 citizens, mobile phones represent a powerful instrument to overcome state capacity by providing healthcare information, advice and feedback in rural and urban areas.

It was in the middle of the night on August 10, 2015 when I first saw lots of notifications on my Facebook page alerting me to an online campaign protest by Burmese medical doctors. The campaign was titled “Black Ribbon Movement 2015.” I was already enrolled as a member of the campaign’s private Facebook group and recognized a photo of familiar orthopedic surgeons wearing black ribbons on their green OT coats.

An orphanage for children who lost their parents to AIDS has been built in Myanmar with the help of a Japanese NGO.

The most sophisticated, and deadly, form of the human immune deficiency virus (HIV) to ever surface has been discovered in the body of a long haul truck driver who regularly travelled the border area between China and Myanmar, according to a new study by Chinese scientists reported the South China Morning Post on 25 June.

The Union Election Commission has rejected calls from the National League for Democracy to extend the period for voters to check electoral rolls are accurate, insisting the two-week window is long enough.

The rolls went on display in ward offices across 10 states and regions on June 22, and voters will have until July 5 to ensure their accuracy. Errors can be corrected by submitting the relevant form to the ward office.

But U Tun Tun Hein, who leads the NLD’s committee for analysing voter lists, said yesterday that more time was needed.

“We can’t fix all the mistakes within 14 days because there are just so many,” he said. “It is time-consuming work. We are asking questions to get the real data by going door to door.”

On June 3, the NLD released an open letter to the UEC saying voter lists that went on display in the second phase of the electoral roll project featured error rates ranging from 30 to 80 percent.

Mistakes across the 22 townships included about 600 people from two wards being left off in Kyauktan township, while 70 people in Hlaing Tharyar township were listed at the same address.

But UEC member U Win Kyi said 14 days was “enough”.

“In the 2010 and 2012 elections we gave only seven days. Now, we are giving more and it is only the provisional list. We will announce the final list after the election date is announced and voters will have another chance to correct it,” he said yesterday.

“It’s up to the people to correct the voter lists themselves. If we announced that instead of putting voter lists on display we were going to give out mobile phones, you can be sure there would be plenty of people at the ward offices jostling each other.”

While lack of time is an issue, Ma Shwe Yee Win, founder of the voter education NGO Peace and Justice Myanmar, said the biggest problem was lack of interest from the public.

U Win Kyi said voter lists for military and police personnel and their families would only be released after the election date is announced in August. He declined to say why they had been excluded from the current voter list display program.

Drug-resistant malaria appears to have taken hold in much of Myanmar, and scientists aren’t exactly sure how. It may have spread here from elsewhere, or it may have emerged independently, but in any case, the strategy to fight it seems set for a major change.

The refugees fleeing Myanmar, from the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority, have been persecuted for decades. They have been evicted from their homes and kicked off their land, and attacked by the military and by Buddhist extremists in Rakhine, the western coastal state where they live. Their voting rights were effectively revoked in February. Their government insists that they are in the country illegally, and most neighboring countries refuse to accept them.

A Police force “special project” to reduce sexual crime during Thingyan has resulted in registered contraceptive pills – and even condoms – being pulled from shelves, in a move health professionals say is highly misguided. (more…)

HIV-positive patients are concerned for the future quality of their medical options as the government takes control of HIV care and aims to largely decentralise treatment to the township level by next year.

Myanmar riot police March 4 corralled dozens of student protesters calling for education reform after activists defied official orders to disband and the tense deadlock entered a third day. (more…)

Burma has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Asia; UNAIDS estimated that about 190,000 people in Burma were living with HIV in 2013, and that about 11,000 died that year from the incurable illness. The country’s overloaded and under-resourced health system—Burma spends less per capita on health care than any other nation in the world—offers minimal assistance for HIV-positive patients, who also suffer from severe social stigma. (more…)

The number of people contracting HIV in Burma decreased between 2000 and 2013, according to a new UN report, which also said there are still 189,000 people in the country living with the virus.

Myanmar has received a sum of US$ 160 million from the Global Fund to combat HIV/AIDS from 2013 to 2016, according to the Health Planning Department under the Ministry of Health. (more…)

Sittwe. Aid workers are calling for better health access for an estimated 140,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State, most of them Rohingya Muslims. (more…)

Chelsea Clinton is carrying out some of her father’s globe-trotting work in a country where her mother blazed a diplomatic trail — Myanmar. (more…)

Relief camps in Kyaukphyu are still dealing with insufficient water and food supplies, according to camp committee representatives. (more…)

Myanmar’s victims of sectarian strife were spared the full force of Cyclone Mahasen, but many are now returning to flimsy tents in flood-prone camps with the monsoon just weeks away. (more…)

More than 125,000 displaced Rohingya in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State are bracing for this year’s punishing monsoon rains.

After her heroin-addict husband died five years ago, Ei Ei Phyu discovered she was HIV-positive. She thought her life was over until friends directed her to the open-air clinic here where she receives antiretroviral medicine.

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